|The final vote in the Assembly Judiciary committee (4/12/05) on AB 654, Compassion in Choices (Physician Assisted Suicide). Voting “NO.” Tom Harman,(R), Ray Haynes(R), Tim Leslie(R), Cindy Montanez,(D) Voting “YES.” Dave Jones,(D) Lloyd Levine,(D), John Laird,(D) Noreen Evans,(D) Sally Lieber,(D) Both Evans and Montanez were heavily lobbied by opponents of this bill. AT the last moment Noreen Evans sided with the proponents. Cindy Montanez broke with her Party refusing to support the bill’s premise that it is a noble thing for a terminally ill patient to accept death at the hands of a member of the medical profession. More legislators have now signed on to an amended version (4/21/05) as co-authors; Joe Canciamilla, (D-Martinez), Catholic and mortuary owner, John Laird,(D-Monterey), Mark Leno, (D-S.F.), Mervin Dymally, (D-Watts), Jackie Goldberg, (D-L.A.), Paul Koretz, (D-Hollywood), Judy Chu, (D-Monterey Park), Karen Bass, (D-L.A.) and, Sen. Sheila Kuehl,(D-Ventura Co.) Notice Similarities? The districts represented by these legislators all contain large groups of senior citizens, Latinos and or HIV/AIDS patients.||
THE DRAMA. The rather large hearing room
for the Judiciary Committee hearing consisting of a main floor
and a balcony was packed with opponents and proponents of the bill. The hearing scheduled for 1 hour turned into almost 3 hours. Each side was allowed four main representatives to testify on behalf of their position. At the conclusion the Chairman, Dave Jones, invited everyone up to give their name, organization and position. The bill’s proponents gave emotional recitals of relatives and loved ones suffering horrible deaths because they couldn’t be given “life ending medication.” Some of the testimony was bizarre as for example one unstable appearing man claimed he almost threw his wife and himself out of a 10 story window because he couldn’t stand to watch her in pain. Another man claiming to be a minister in the United Church of Christ declared that he spoke for Catholics as well. A slight murmur went up from the Catholics in the audience. MAIN FOCUS Those invited to testify on behalf of the bill mindlessly repeated the mantra set down by the authors, Levine and Berg. It is a “deeply personal” privacy issue, it is a civil rights issue, there are multiple layers of safeguards against any abuse of the relationship between the patient and doctor, a law is needed because assisted suicide is happening even now and there are no regulations and a bill would provide a “safe venue for conversation between the patient and doctor.” The former Governor of Oregon, in office at
the time of the passage of the Oregon assisted suicide bill testified as to the bill’s safety features.
|What Can UPS
do For You?
The authors have now (4/20/05) accepted several amendments appearing to reflect the opponents concerns for abuse of the patient/doctor relationship. But attempting to make a bad bill appear better does not change the bottom line of the bill’s intent. 1. It removes any liability or criminality adhering to assisting in suicide. 2. the patient must “self medicate” or take the medication by him/herself. Now, picture this: One’s wealthy, disabled mother-in-law is confined to bed, can’t even get to the front door or get herself a glass of water or make a phone call to order the prescription. You’ve seen ads on tv endorsing the delivery of diabetes type medicines or your pet’s medications to your front door? According to this bill it may be possible for someone else to order a lethal prescription delivered to your front door such as FedEx or UPS and instead of delivering a pair of shoes actually delivers a lethal prescription? The relative takes the delivery, gets the glass of water, pries open Grandma’s mouth and says here, swallow. That person acting under AB 654 is now absolves of any act of criminality! As long as the “patient” swallowed the pill she has accepted the assisted suicide and it’s done in privacy which is protected by this bill so, as Assemblyman Ray Haynes said in the Judiciary Committee hearing, there is no accountability because only the patient would know and that patient is now dead. This is one of the problems with the Oregon Assisted Suicide law. There is a federal court case which will be heard sometime in the fall term of 2006 - Gonzales (U.S. Att’y Gen’l) vs Oregon that will argue this very point as it refers to the delivery of medications purchased and or delivered across state lines, but not within state lines.
Youth are in danger also. The arguments supporting this bill, privacy, choice, as in this is just one choice amongst several for medical services, freedom, doctor/patient private relationships, are the same as for the abortion laws. There is a minor’s Reproductive Rights Law which allows minors to choice abortion without parental knowledge or consent. Will this law be expanded in the future to cover allowances for suicide for minors? Remember schools are already overseeing ritalin dosage, sending students off to planned Parenthood for morning
after pills. Will they also be given the right to refer our children to psychiatric consultants who will determine that they are eligible for assisted suicide because of their disability, pain, depression, etc?
In other words the medically sanctioned delivery of lethal prescriptions killing an innocent, ill or disabled human being exactly follows the debate set down in both the original California and federal debates on abortion.
Our side was represented by 3 members of the medical profession including the California Medical Association which , as a body took an official position to oppose PAS, and one member of the Disability Rights community.
They did an excellent job of exposing the holes in the proponents arguments about privacy, dignity, doctor accountability, the issue of pain and the ability of doctors to provide medications to alleviate pain.
Assemblyman Ray Haynes did a great job on the Slippery Slope argument showing the bill’s lack of any penalties for doctors who may abuse their patient’s right to make choices. While the proponents denied that there is a slippery slope, Haynes made it very clear that there is historical proof of the Slippery Slope effect.
WHO HEARS IT NEXT?
It will, go to the Assembly Appropriations. The bill must pass out of the Assembly and over to the Senate no later than May 27, or turned into a two year bill in which case it has until January, 2006 to get out of the Assembly side.
No date for hearing set as of now.
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WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
Every Assembly member in this state must be lobbied by the citizens of this state. The legislator must be visited while he is in his home district office - usually on Fridays. Find out his/her church affiliation and lobby the Minister/Priest urging that he pay a call on the official. The
legislator wants to know the attitude of his/her district voters.
Get out petitions, get letters, write letters to the editor. START NOW. PLEASE get organized on this now. Just because assisted suicide was defeated before doesn’t mean it will get defeated this time without your involvement.
ANALYSIS OF SOME BILLS
AFFECTING THE LIFE ISSUES
ASSEMBLY BILLS TO OPPOSE
AB 21, Lloyd Levine, (D-Van Nuys. Pharmacists: prescriptions.
Requires pharmacists to fill prescriptions for contraceptives and emergency contraceptives with no allowance for a conscience clause if the drug store or pharmacy management is willing to accept those prescriptions for filling.
This bill is listed on the Planned Parenthood web site as a number one priority.
Levine is the sole author/sponsor of this bill. There are three pro life groups listed in opposition and one proponent, the California Alliance for Consumer Protection which we believe to be a front for PP.
A definite concern further down the road is that the state which is even now contracting for drugs on a wholesale basis from Pharmaceutical companies, will consider having schools as dispensing sites for contraceptives and or will issue through school site clinics, prescriptions on campus for students to pick up contraceptives at drug stores.
Levine’s statement on AB 21:
"We are very concerned with this trend of protecting pharmacists first and patients second," Levine says. "Pharmacists are trying to take a moral stand where none is necessary, but what they are really doing is interfering in the doctor-patient relationship and attempting to take away a woman’s right to choose. Whether that choice is an abortion or access to contraceptives, it isn’t up to anyone other than her and her doctor."
Pharmacists for Life - PFLI.org.
“PFLI president Karen Brauer, who was fired from her pharmacist position at a Kmart store in
Delhi, OHIO for refusing to fill contraceptive prescriptions, says her organization’s objection to bills that bar conscience clauses goes deeper than just their opposition to abortion. Brauer says pharmacists are "the final checkpoint for catching a doctor’s errors," and that laws forcing them to fill any prescription they receive "cancels all of the knowledge a pharmacist spent six years (in school) acquiring."
AB 171, Leland Yee (D-Sa, Fran). Pupils. The Comprehensive Pupil Learning Support System ensures that each pupil will be a productive and responsible learner and citizen. Requires the State Department of Education to administer and implement the program through existing resources. Authorizes each elementary, middle, and high school to develop a school action plan based on guidelines to be developed by the department.
This bill ‘s underlying philosophy relies on the Clinton “Village Concept.”
Asm Yee also carried this same bill last term as AB 2569 which failed. It was sponsored by the California Nurses Ass’n and M.A.L.D.E.F., a Latino lobbying organization.
The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (Hatch/Grassley federal amendment) protects children from intrusive surveys or questioning. Published by Health and Health Care in Schools Report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation entitled “Making the Grade, School of Public Health and Health Services. See also the following:
AB 470 Leland Yee (D-S.F.) Mental Health Assessment and Services for Children. Requires county mental health agencies to provide a mental health assessment and all mental health services for children whose families are recipients of prescribed general assistance benefits or are dependent children of the court.
AB 291 - Paul Koretz, (D-LA/W. Hollywood) - postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders: Screening. Requires that pregnant women and new mothers be screened for postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, up to 12 months after birth, with a fine attached if the physician fails to inform the patient of the availability of this screening test.
AB 772, Wilma Chan, (D-Oakland and Darryl Frommer. Ca. Healthy Kids Insurance Program. Amended
Another way to enroll children and families into state managed health care. The new twist here is the inclusion of funds to underwrite the cost of keeping the health care clients permanently signed up.
It will, further, allow the Insurance client to “self-certify” for renewal, thereby doing away with any verification of actual financial or medical need although it will allow a family an income of 300% of federal poverty level to qualify. That’s well into the middle income range.
It seems that low income people are notorious for letting health care coverage lapse and not attending the clinics so the state loses the “patients.”
Further, it creates a California Healthy Kids expert Panel to advise the administering agencies on various matters.
Is your Child overweight? The intent here is obvious. This group of so-called experts will evaluate your parenting. They will set the dietary, medical, social arenas of your family life. The usual pro life objection to bills such as this here is, as always, that the main objective of these health care programs for youth and young families is to prevent pregnancy and provide abortion for pregnancies already started as well as initiate more people into all the vast array of government programs thereby commandeering supervision of the total life of the student and family through the child’s 21st birthday. PROPONENTS 100% Campaign (Children Now, Children’s Defense Fund, Children’s Partnership) and PICO California. What is PICO?
PICO claims to represent some 300 plus religious and social organizations and members in this state including whole Catholic parishes and hospitals. We have reported on PICO and its county affiliates in the past. PICO stands for Pacific Institute of Community Organizing. It is a Saul Alinsky Industrial Areas Foundation trained politically liberal group with a socialist bent. The National Director is a Jesuit Priest, Fr. John Bauman, headquartered in Oakland, Ca.
The main spokesperson is Jim Keddy based in Sacramento.
How do they work?
PICO establishes a base within a county, adopts a name that reflects the area - such as COR (Communities Organizing for Renewal) or CCISCO (Contra Costa Interfaith Sponsoring Co,mmittee).
They survey the local communities so-called needs (do you need a stop light?) and lobby the local officials on your behalf. In the meantime they are lobbying in Sacramento claiming to speak for you to obtain expanded state government involvement in the local community. Universal health care is one of their strong goals.
The local community is so grateful that a dangerous corner has been protected by a stop light that the citizens are now willing to go to bat for PICO and help lobby for health care.
They are also busy hosting cocktail parties for legislators and catering to the legislator’s ego hungry needs.
THE CA. CATHOLIC CONFERENCE always supportive of universal health care, has now signed on as a supporter, along with Catholic Healthcare West and a Catholic Hospital. The Catholic Conference needs to be persuaded to drop its support with the strongest urgings possible. We had to do this once before when they were willing to sacrifice their stated opposition to abortion and contraception in favor of government mandated health care which automatically covers abortion and contraception - and may soon cover lethal prescriptions. ASSEMBLY BILL TO SUPPORT. AB 1217 - Mark Wyland, (R-San Diego - Sexual Health and Hiv/Aids. Requires the Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Education Act to include abstinence education. Wyland’s office claims he is merely attempting to put back into the education code wording such as that dealing with abstinence education, that had been “accidentally” removed in 2003 with Sheila Kuehl’s SB 71.
STATE SENATE BILLS TO OPPOSE
SB 18 - Deborah Ortiz, (D-Sacramento and outlying areas)
Would provide w omen seeking abortions with information and counseling regarding its ramifications (i.e. reality of fetal pain).
FEDERAL STEM CELL BILLS -OPPOSE
H.R., 810, Michael N. Castle (R-DE) and 149 Congressmen as co-authors, at least 20 of whom are California Democrats. and
S471, Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Senators Tom Harkin,(D-IA), Orrin Hatch, (R-UT), Feinstein, (D-CA.), T. Kennedy,(D-MA), Gordon Smith, (R-OR).
Both bills are identical. Would give federal government approval to using stem cells for research if they meet the following requirements:
1. Donated from invitro fertilization clinics.
2. Created originally for fertility treatments.
3. Are considered excess eggs for individual need.
A congressional push to expand federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research. The current policy, established by President Bush in 2001, only allows federal funding of research on stem-cell lines created prior to that time. The new legislation seeks to fund experiments involving stem cells harvested from embryos created during IVF treatments.
Both S.471 and H.R.810 would allow the destruction of tiny human beings for the purpose of conducting immoral and unethical research, which has shown no promise of providing any treatment or cures. Members of Congress, as well as the public at large, need to know that it would be a much wiser investment to promote the proven results of adult stem cell research.
ACTION: Please consider writing your legislators and local media informing them of the following:
A human embryo is a human being! There is no such thing as a “pre-embryo.” From its conception, an embryo contains the entire genetic makeup of a human being.
Human embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of innocent human life! When an embryo’s inner stem cell mass is extracted to harvest its stem cells, it is necessarily killed.
Adult stem cell research has documented clinical success in treating a wide range of health conditions: breast cancer, ovarian cancer, brain tumors, stroke, cardiac repair after heart attack, spinal cord injury, and corneal damage - to name just a few.
Human embryonic stem cells have never helped a human patient and any claim that they may do so is pure speculation.
RIGHT TO LIFE COMM, INC.
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Editor: Camille Giglio
The Hidden Truth About Pro-Life Checks ( LifeTalk, May 2005 )
LifeChecks sells personal checks which feature pro-life sayings and images. Thousands of Americans use pro-life checks to help advance the pro-life cause. In addition, LifeChecks sells a variety of Christian checks, address labels, cards and other products. LifeChecks is owned by Custom Direct LLC.
Custom Direct also owns Message Products, which sells checks and other items that help fund and promote:
• Planned Parenthood
• The National Organization for Women
• The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
• Various Gay and Lesbian Organizations
Statistic: 44,937,189 and counting, babies killed in abortion since Roe v Wade.
Priests for Life web site